Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heroes Of Blaxploitation: D'urville Martin

Day Fifteen:

D'urville Martin (1939-1984) will forever be remembered as one of the Blaxploitation genre's best supporting players. This great charmer got his start with standout performances in films like Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (1967), A Time To Sing (1968) and Rosemary's Baby (1968).

His career in Black films might have started with a tiny role in Carl  Lerner's seminal Black Like Me (1964) but it didn't really kick into gear until he landed a role in Melvin Van Peebles classic Watermelon Man (1970). His standout work on that film led to a successful partnership with Fred Williamson which begun with the first film of a trilogy: The Legend Of Nigger Charley (1972). Next up was The Final Comedown (AKA: Blast (1972) - which D'urville also served as a Producer. And then a string of very successful films for the genre: The Fred Williamson starring: Hammer (1972), Black Caesar (1973) and Book Of Numbers (1973) with Raymond St. Jacques and Phillip Michael Thomas, The 2nd film in Williamson's trilogy The Soul Of Nigger Charley (1973), Five On The Black Hand Side (1973) and the sequel to Black Caesar: Hell Up In Harlem (1973.


D'urville worked hard and steady throughout the rest of the 70's and appeared in The Zebra Killer (AKA: The Get-Man (1974), the conclusion to Fred Williamson's trilogy: Boss Nigger (1975) and Sheba, Baby (1975). Mr. Martin himself stepped behind the Director's chair for the first time with the now Blaxploitation classic, Dolemite (1975) starring the incomparable Rudy Ray Moore. 

D'urville stepped back into the Director's chair once more for Disco 9000 (AKA: Fass Black) (1976) and rounded out the rest of the 70's with great supporting roles in Blaxploitation films like Death Journey (1976), Black Samurai (1977) and the Philippines lensed Blind Rage (1978). He also guest starred in a number of TV Shows before he returned to Blaxploitation with the Fred Williamson genre late-bloomer The Big Score in 1983. D'urville's final film credit is a small role in the football coach bio-pic The Bear (1984). Sadly D'urville Martin passed away that year from a sudden heart attack.

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